Building Relationships With Mobile—What Your Customers Need From You During Covid-19

No matter how you describe it, this is a difficult moment in all of our lifetimes. It’s even more difficult to think about prioritizing what matters for our businesses. I, like many, am juggling being a mom and a business leader all at once and realize this is a time that will fundamentally change how we navigate life.

One of the biggest changes caused by Covid-19 is that we no longer rely on our screens for almost everything. We rely on them for literally everything. It goes without saying that this is one of the biggest, most dramatic shifts in behavior we’ve seen in such a short amount of time.

To get insights on this new mobile behavior, I sat down (virtually) with Frederic Golen, who leads Facebook’s Mobile Growth Team. Frederic leads mobile growth initiatives that help Facebook’s community of advertisers thrive in a mobile-first world. His team is responsible for mobile consumer insights, shopping experience optimization, business transformation and marketing strategy development.

Katherine Shappley: Covid-19 is obviously having huge impacts on businesses, but I’m interested in how you’ve seen it affect consumers?   

Frederic Golen: Covid-19 has taken all of our daily routines and turned them upside down. During this time of physical distancing, digital experiences are playing a vital role in helping to fulfill our needs.

Categories like groceries, fitness and telemedicine where online services were previously considered convenience options are now experiencing a digital boom. Businesses need to keep pace as consumers continue to adapt. It’s critical that a brand’s paid advertising and owned experiences reflect people’s evolving realities and work together to provide a seamless, caring experience for the customer.

I’ve been so impressed with how brands are reacting. For example, Planet Fitness has pivoted to create daily workout videos for all of its home-bound customers. The brand is still living its core mission of providing fitness in a welcoming environment. 

Exactly. Businesses that demonstrate agility and harness technology to build stronger digital connections to new and existing customers may be rewarded with loyalty even after the pandemic is over.

I recently saw a survey conducted by Kantar that revealed that the vast majority of people thought businesses should continue to advertise during this time. It’s important to hear about the products and services we need. 

But remember, the mobile experience must follow through on the promise advertising makes. Building trustworthy customer experiences is now more important than ever. In fact, among people surveyed globally by Nielsen, one in two said they’d pay more for products with assurances of quality and safety. Businesses should proactively and transparently convey how the pandemic is impacting their services and what they are doing to protect buyers.

There has never been a more important time to give your mobile experience a good hard look. Consumers are extremely sensitive right now. Frictionless purchase experiences give certainty in a time of total uncertainty. The emotional connection people are having with brands is building a bond that will last their lifetime.

"Mobile experience must follow through on the promise advertising makes."
Frederic Golen, Mobile Growth Marketing Lead, Facebook

I mentioned Planet Fitness earlier. A part of their pivot process was figuring out the easiest way to reach their audience. They ended up using Facebook Live as one of their outlets. According to Planet Fitness internal data, positive brand sentiment has increased by 1,500% since they started daily Home Work-Ins. This is a great example of meeting customers where they are and making it easy for them to engage with you.  

There are unfortunately many businesses suffering right now with tough choices ahead. If you have the means to invest in improving the customer journey, start with your employees. Company leaders should help create a safe space where all employees can take ownership of the customer experience and provide honest feedback when it falls short.

Facebook’s survey data shows that only 54% of marketers are reviewing their mobile website more than once a month. However, 70% would assign their mobile customer experience a C grade or lower.

I know from personal experience that if a purchase experience isn’t easy, it will be abandoned. What can brands do to ensure consumers don’t abandon carts online?

I’ve seen brands have those exact aha moments at our After the Click events when they finally evaluate their mobile experience from the customer perspective. These events are learning sessions for brands to improve every step of their online path to purchase and develop an action plan to reduce friction, improve conversions and increase their return on ad spend.

For many companies, small changes can really make a big difference. Earlier this month, Vessi, a Canadian shoe brand, worked with Facebook to optimize their mobile landing page experiences. By removing friction, they have already seen a notable lift in conversions, according to Vessi internal data.

Sock company Bombas is another good example of a brand that, based on Bombas internal data, saw a 3% improvement in conversions when it made rapid changes to add sticky filters to its landing pages.

Thanks for all of your insights today. This is a time to lead with empathy. I believe that after we weather this storm, we will show up better for those whose lives have been deeply and forever impacted. We will find a way to lead more enlightened lives and run stronger, more empathetic businesses.